Flathead Lake Vacation Guide

Flathead Lake Vacation Guide

Montana’s Flathead Lake Vacations are better with our downloadable guide. The booklet includes restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, boat rentals, water craft rentals as well as public and private campgrounds. It is the most complete vacation information about Flathead Lake. Download your copy today!

Major tributaries are the Flathead and Swan Rivers. In addition numerous small streams flow directly into The Lake at its shoreline, particularly on the wetter East Shore. Located at the outlet of the Flathead River outside of  Polson is Kerr Dam. Regulations of outflow by the dam maintain the lake level between 2,883 and 2,893 feet above sea level.

Fishing on Flathead Lake

About Montana’s Flathead Lake

There are  185 miles of shoreline and 200 square miles of natural  freshwater.  Therefore earning the title as “the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi”.  There are 13 public access sites around The Lake maintained by  Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

The southern half of The Lake lies within the boundary of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Flathead Reservation, which was created in 1855 by the Hellgate Treaty. The Flathead Nation insists that all non-tribal members purchase a tribal recreation permit to recreate on tribal lands.

Montana Flathead Lake

Public access sites include: Bigfork, Elmo, Juniper Beach, and Sportsman’s Bridge.
There are a number of Public State Parks including: Big Arm, Finley Point, Wayfarers, West Shore State Park, Woods Bay, and Yellow Bay, and Wild Horse Island.

Hiking Around Flathead Lake

This Vacation Guide contains most every public access point around The Lake.  Public and private fishing and camping areas.  So if you are looking for public or private campgrounds around our Lake, this vacation guide has the information you will need to plan your Montana vacation. See what is included, and Read the guides Table of Contents.

How to Purchase

At $4.99 the Booklet costs less then a Subway® sandwich you can buy in Bigfork or Polson. So this will insure you have the information you need to have a Great Montana Lake Vacation. Purchase your booklet using our Pay-Pal option knowing your information is safe and secure and we will see you on the Lake!

Hiking Trails: Camp Misery Trail

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail: Camp Misery Trail #68

The Camp Misery trail is 0.8 miles long. It begins at the junction with Noisy Creek Trail #8 and ends at the junction with Alpine Trail #7 and provides one of the many accesses into the Jewel Basin Hiking Area. The trail is primarily open for the following uses: Hiking.

Usage is typically light, closest town is Bigfork
Directions:
From Bigfork, go North on Highway 35 for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Highway 83. Stay on 83 for 2.8 miles and turn left onto Echo Lake Rd. After 2.2 miles, turn slightly right onto Foothill Rd. Continue for 1.1 miles and bear slight right following the Jewel Basin sign onto Road #5392. Continue 6.6 miles to the end of the road for the trailhead.

Location

Area/Length : 0.8 miles
Elevation : 5,750 feet – 7,530 feet

190 pages packed with trailheads, camping spots, and local information around Flathead Lake.

Don’t need the hiking guide, just some basic trail information, do not fret.  Mike has included some beginner to medium hikes on this website.  Depending on were you as staying there is most likely a trail head near you. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you on the trail.
The trail guide is focused on trails, camping and being in the woods.  Mike’s Flathead Lake Trail Guide breaks the area in five easy to use sections.  North of Flathead lake, including The Talley Lake area and due north to Polebridge. East of Flathead Lake, including the Swan Front, Swan Valley, and on into the Hungry Horse recreation area.  The guide contains most every trail Mike has hiked in the last 20 years or plans to hike in the next 20 years.

Hiking Trails: Phillips Trail

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail: Phillips Trail #373

The Phillips Trail #373 is 3.8 miles long and climbs about 600 feet; it intersects with Crane Mtn Road #498 and the Beardance Trail #76. This is one of three trails that climb up Crane Mountain. Access by car from Crane Mountain is available 4/1-11/30, otherwise hikers must access from the Flathead Lake side at the Beardance trailhead (4.4 miles up). The trail is open for the following uses: hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

Trail Map and Directions

Usage is typically light, closest town is Bigfork
General Information
Directions:
Crane Mtn Access: From Bigfork go south on Highway 35 for 0.7 miles, turning left onto Hwy 209. Stay on 209 for 3 miles, then turn right at the light onto South Ferndale Rd. After 2 miles merge right onto Crane Mountain Rd also called Forest Service Road #498. The trail is 3 miles up on the west side of the road.

Flathead Lake Access: From Bigfork follow Highway 35 south, past Woods Bay, to the Beardance Picnic Area south of mile marker 23. The trailhead is on the east side of the highway, across from the parking lot.

Location

Area/Length : 3.8 miles
Elevation : 3,440 feet – 4,039 feet

190 pages packed with trailheads, camping spots, and local information around Flathead Lake.

Don’t need the hiking guide, just some basic trail information, do not fret.  Mike has included some beginner to medium hikes on this website.  Depending on were you as staying there is most likely a trail head near you. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you on the trail.
The trail guide is focused on trails, camping and being in the woods.  Mike’s Flathead Lake Trail Guide breaks the area in five easy to use sections.  North of Flathead lake, including The Talley Lake area and due north to Polebridge. East of Flathead Lake, including the Swan Front, Swan Valley, and on into the Hungry Horse recreation area.  The guide contains most every trail Mike has hiked in the last 20 years or plans to hike in the next 20 years.

Bigfork Montana

Bigfork is a year-round resort village of about 1500 residents built on a western art theme.  It contains many art galleries, fine restaurants, golf, boutiques, and live theater.  Bigfork is located on Flathead Lake with ample public access to fishing, boating and hiking opportunities.

Bigfork MontanaThe Bigfork Summer Playhouse is a fine theater operating Monday through Saturday during the summer season and is worth a visit while in Bigfork.

Bigfork has been listed in the following publications: The 50 Great Towns in the West, 100 Best Small Art Towns, The Great Towns of America, and National Geographic Guide to Small Towns Escapes. Chosen by Sunset Magazine as one of the most picturesque towns in the Northwest

Bigfork Montana is home to Eagle Bend Golf Club, a 27-hole championship course and Montana’s only golf course to be rated #1 by Golf Digest for six consecutive years.  Eagle Bend has also consistently ranked top 50 in the United States.  The original 18 holes were designed and built by William Hull and later, in the mid-nineties “Nicklaus Design” designed and built the “Nicklaus Nine” to standards worthy of  the Nicklaus reputation.  Eagle Bend is a semi-private Club offering all of the facilities you would expect including sculpted fairways, excellent greens, practice facility and a full service restaurant and lounge.

Bigfork Montana Trails

Trails closest to Bigfork: Beardance Trail #76 ,  Broken Leg Divide Trail #353 ,  Camp Misery Trail #68 ,  Crane Mountain Trail #314 ,  Crater Notch Trail #187 ,  Echo Broken Leg #544 ,  Estes Lake Trail #96 Flathead Lake Interpretive Trail #77 ,  Noisy Creek Trail #8 ,  Peters Ridge Trail #37 ,  Peterson Creek Trail #293 ,  Phillips Trail #373 ,  South Lost Creek Trail #86 ,  Strawberry Lake Trail #5 ,  Switchback Trail #725

Hikes around Flathead Lake

Hikes around Flathead Lake

Hikes around Flathead Lake:

Hikes around Flathead Lake. There are many hikes around Flathead lake. Here are a couple easily accessible hikes. The Flathead Lake Trail is by far the easiest hike. It is a short half mile loop interpretive trail hike. The short but steep distance down to excellent view of Flathead Lake and the western skyline. This trail was developed in partnership with the Bigfork High School.

Directions: From Bigfork, go south on Highway 35 past Woods Bay, and turn right after mile marker 23, entering the Beardance trailhead parking. The trail goes downhill from both parking areas, creating a loop.

If you are looking for something a bit more difficult, cross the road to the Bear Dance Trail. The Bear Dance trail and the Flathead Lake Trail share the same parking lot.

Hikes around Flathead Lake

BEARDANCE TRAIL #76

The Beardance Trail is 6.7 miles long and climbs about 2,200 feet. It begins off of Highway # 35 from the Beardance Trailhead and follows Forest Road #10222 and terminates at Crane Mountain Road #498. This trail has been re-routed in the last year and no longer follows the old Forest Service Road #9755. The trail is open to: hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

Usage: Heavy | Closest Towns: Bigfork
Directions: From Bigfork go south on Highway 35 past Woods Bay and turn right after mile marker 23, entering the Beardance trailhead parking. The trailhead is on the east side of the highway.
Season: These trails are typically snow free by April.
Regulations: Hiking, horse riding and mountain biking are allowed on these trails. Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles are prohibited.

Area/Length : 6.7 miles
Latitude : 47.95678
Longitude : -114.03442
Elevation : 3,071 feet – 5,309 feet

Beardance Area: Trails #76, 373, and 314

Directions: From Bigfork go south on Highway 35 past Woods Bay and turn right after mile marker 23, entering the Beardance trailhead parking. The trailhead is on the east side of the highway.

Trail Description:
The Phillips Trail 373 leaves from the Beardance parking lot and climbs moderately, enjoy a nice viewpoint of Flathead Lake, then continues to climb through the trees and finally crosses two creeks and then descends to the road.

The Crane Mountain Trail 314 climbs up switchbacks in the shade of a dense forest and follows Crane Creek up to the junction with an old road. Once you reach the old road, the grade levels off for an easy hike to the upper trailhead.

The Beardance Trail 76 starts climbing up switchbacks then continue to climb up through a forested area to the trailhead on Crane Mountain Rd.

The Go Hike with Mike trail guide contains most every trail head in the Flathead and Kootenai Forest as well as the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness, including this campground.  Click here to purchase your copy.

Mission Mountains Wilderness

The Mission Mountains

Mission Mountains Wilderness
Located in the Flathead National Forest in Montana. 

The Mission Mountains Wilderness is on the Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest in northwestern Montana. The Forest Service manages it as part of the National Forest System. Officially classified as Wilderness on January 4, 1975, the 73,877 acre area is managed in accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964.  The Mission Mountains run along the east shore of Montana’s Flathead Lake.

The Mission Mountains, Holland LakeWhen to Visit – Most people visit the wilderness between July 1 and October 1. Snow-filled passes and high streams make earlier travel difficult and hazardous. High lakes do not open up until early or mid-June.

June is normally a wet month. Snow still covers high, shaded basins and surrounds trees.

July, August, and early September are dry months. Daytime temperatures are the 80-90 degree range. Showers are frequent. Nights are very cool. Snow occur at any time. Heavy snow generally occurs in late October and early November.

Mission Mountains Trail HeadIf you are a skier or winter camper, late February through May provide the best snow conditions and longer days. When planning an extended backcountry trip, be informed of potential avalanche conditions.

Trails – There are about 45 miles of maintained Forest Service system trails in the Mission Mountains. Most trails are better suited to hiking than horseback riding because of rugged terrain.

Travel is primarily by foot with some horseback use. Mountain bikes, hang gliders, motorized trail bikes, motorcycles, three and four wheelers, and snowmobiles are not permitted. Few of the trails can be called easy. Some are especially difficult because of steepness. You should be an experienced hiker to travel cross country and should possess map reading and compass skills.

Throughout the Mission Mountains you will find old Indian and packer trails. These are usually steep and difficult to follow. They are suitable for only the most experienced horse users or backpackers.

Mission Mountain TrailAccess Points – The major access points into the Mission Mountains Wilderness from the Swan Valley: Glacier Creek, Cold Lakes, Piper Creek, Fatty Creek, and Beaver Creek. Other access points from the Swan Valley include Lindbergh Lake (south end trail reached by boat), Jim Lakes, Hemlock Creek, Meadow Lake, and Elk Point.

There are also three major access points from the Salish & Kootenai Indian Reservation side of the Mission Mountains. Access through tribal lands requires a permit. These permits may be purchased at major sporting goods stores in Missoula and the Mission Valley or through the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Recreation Department in Pablo, Montana, phone (406) 675-2700.

A major portion of the Mission Mountains is suitable for backpacking only. Travel is strenuous, but it has many advantages: independence and self-sufficiency, opportunities for solitude, and you’re more carefree when backpacking.

DAY HIKES: The Mission Mountains has several hikes ranging from 1 1/4 miles to 6 miles (one way) which can be completed in a day. You will carry less on your back and travel more easily.

BACKPACKING: Backpacking requires careful planning. Proper equipment, with maximum utility and minimum weight, will make the trip easier. The most important items will be your pack, sleeping bag, and foot gear. Take only what you need. A pack that is too heavy can spoil your trip. A pack without adequate food, clothing and shelter can be equally disappointing and unpleasant.

The Go Hike With Mike trail guide contains most every trailhead along the Swan front of the Mission Mountains.

Looking west at Flathead Lake from Yellowbay State Park.

Flathead Lake Montana

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States.  Lying in the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana, the lake is more then 300 feet deep and extends north and south some 28 miles and is seven to 15 miles wide.

As you drive and drive on the roads that hug Flathead Lake’s shoreline, (US Highway 93 on the west and Montana Route 35 on the east) it’s hard to believe manmade dams that are so common in the Pacific Northwest didn’t create it. Rather, the lake is a fortuitous product of the activity of ice-age glaciers, and is fed by the Swan and Flathead Rivers.

All manner of water sports are enjoyed upon its 200 square miles of surface. Several state parks and lakeshore communities have boat launches and marinas on the Lake.

Flathead LakeYou can avail yourself of a boat tour or rent one of the many types of watercraft including canoes, kayaks, windsurfers, hydro bikes, sailing and fishing boats. Serious anglers can arm themselves with heavy-duty equipment and probe the 300-foot deep Flathead Lake for trophy Mackinaw. Lake trout, salmon, perch, pike, bass, and whitefish are found in the Flathead area’s many lakes.

Locals know summer has arrived when a steady stream of traffic starts to build on the secondary roads. So in peak season expect to share your enjoyment of the Flathead Valley with many others, although the mountains still offer room to get-away if you are willing to exert yourself.

Visiting Montana

Visiting Montana

Visiting MontanaVisiting Montana. We provide information and content for folks who are visiting Montana. Thank you for visiting our site. Many years back the Flathead Lake Vacation Guide was written to provide tourist with the information they needed while visiting Montana.

This Vacation Guide contains most every public access point around The Lake.  Public and private fishing and camping areas.  So if you are looking for public or private campgrounds around our Lake, this vacation guide has the information you will need to plan your Montana vacation. See what is included, and Read the booklet Table of Contents.

Since that time we have created many websites and informational guides to assist visitors on what to see, and what to do.

Visit Montana’s Flathead Lake Website to purchase your guide today. montanasflatheadlake.com . Montana’s Flathead Lake Vacations are better with our downloadable guide. The guide includes restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, boat rentals, water craft rentals as well as public and private campgrounds. It is the most complete vacation information about Flathead Lake. Purchase your copy today!

At $4.99 the Booklet costs less then a Subway® sandwich you can buy in Bigfork or Polson. So this will insure you have the information you need to have a Great Montana Lake VacationPurchase your booklet using our Pay-Pal option knowing your information is safe and secure and we will see you on the Lake!

For easy download, the vacation guide booklet  is available for your tablet or smart phone.  So spend less time wondering what to do and more time doing it!

Here is a list of some topics covered in the Flathead Lake Vacation Guide.

Visiting Montana, THE FLATHEAD LAKE VACATION GUIDE

Finally if you have any questions about The Vacation Guide Booklet, including advertising options and affiliate programs send us an email to : vacation@MontanasFlatheadLake.com

Hiking Trail Guide from Go Hike With Mike

Trail Guide

Hiking Trail Guide

We are proud to announce our newest website GoHikeWithMike.com along with the 150+ page Flathead Lake trail guide.

Trail GuideThe Go Hike with Mike Trail Guide contains most every trail head around Flathead Lake.  The guide includes trails as far north as Polebridge.

It also contains the Hungry Horse recreation area, the Swan Front and Swan Valley to the east.  To the north the guide contains trail head and campground information around Tally Lake.

The trail-guide contains detailed information about each trail.  Content comes from Fish Wildlife and Parks, as well as 20 years of hiking and walking in the woods.

Looking for a great trail in Flathead National Forest, Montana?   The Go Hike With Mike Trail-Guide contains most all of them in northwest Montana.  Trails include  trail running trails, mountain biking trails and just great hiking trails.

Ready for some hiking? There are 30 moderate trails in Flathead National Forest ranging from 1.8 to 23 miles and from 3,034 to 7,421 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you’ll be out on the trail in no time!

Hiking Trail Guide

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice hiker or you love a challenge: Jewel Basin has a hike for you. You’ll discover 15,349 acres of wilderness, 27 lakes and nearly 50 miles of hike-only trails.

The Jewel Basin is located just outside of Bigfork in the Flathead National Forest. To access the trailhead from Bigfork, take Hwy 35 north to Hwy 83.  Head east on Hwy 83 to the junction of the Echo Lake Road. Head north on Echo Lake Road about 3 miles to junction with the Jewel Basin Road (No. 5392).  Follow this road approx. 7 miles to the trailhead.

Get your  150+ page Flathead Lake trail guide. or visit the website: GoHikeWithMike.com

 

The Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, Formally KERR Dam

Went hiking around the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ dam the other day. The gates are open wide at the south end of Flathead Lake. Really, if you haven’t seen it, it is worth the time spent. You wont even need bear spray. The staircase is steep on the way back up. Mike’s advise:  take it one step at a time.

See you on the trail.

The Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, Formally KERR Dam

The Dam is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwest Montana. It is a concrete gravity-arch dam, built in 1938. The Dam is owned and managed by The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in conjunction with others. The purchase was complete in 2015. During the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ celebration of their acquisition of the dam, the Tribal Council announced renaming the complex to reflect the three confederated tribes.

The Kerr Dam, officially known since 2015 as the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam

The Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide

Purchase the Go Hike With Mike Trail Guide. Read the Table of Contents

Thanks for stopping by.